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Balti Curry Sauce

Balti Curry Sauce

This is one of the simplest sauces I’ve ever made. I found the recipe in a collection of small recipe books featuring recipes from different countries. This one is the from the Best of India booklet. I love it. It has virtually no fat but is packed full of flavour and all the different spices carry their own nutritional punch – as well as a lot of taste. It’s easiest to make this with a food mixer.

ingredients in processor
Add the ingredients to processor. You may want to slice the peppers first depending on how sharp your mixer’s blade is.

Last week I said that this reminded me of a harrissa that I bought. I have to admit that I haven’t made this in a while and when I tasted this batch I was left wondering how I thought they tasted so similar. They’re quite different really but I’m glad I had the wrong idea because I decided to make this sauce rather than seek out some dried chilies to make a harrissa – and I had forgotten how much I like this.

ingredients processed
Blend until it have turned into a sort of paste. Make sure that everything has been chopped/mixed to roughly the same size – you don’t want any lumps of onion or chilli pepper.

The original recipe uses a 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric. I upped this to a half teaspoon because I really like turmeric but also it’s very good for you (in moderation, as with everything else). Eating spicy food is said to be good for you too. Some say that it increases your metabolism and one thing it obviously does is act as a decongestant. If your feel a cold coming on a good curry can be as good as a hot drink. Or why not have both?

cooking balti sauce
Cook for about 5 minutes or so, until the mix has turned into a sort of blended paste.

The other quantities I’ve used here are the same as in the book which is enough for one family-sized curry.  You can add the sauce to some fried veg to make a nice hot curry and you can cool it by stirring in some yoghurt or coconut milk. You can put it in jars and leave in the fridge until you’re ready to use it. It takes less than 10 minutes to make and it will stay good in the fridge for 3 – 5 days. You can also stir it into soups to add a nice bit of heat or mix some in with roasted tomatoes to make a simple, hot and sweet tomato salsa. It’s a handy little sauce.

adding to the recipe
Once you have cooked the sauce, taste it and see if you want to add any other spices. I added a little pinch of ground all spice and cumin to this. Other times I’ve added some cinnamon to it which worked surprisingly well.

I used poblano peppers here but if you want a more fiery hot sauce try jalapeño or serrano peppers instead. Once I’ve cooked the sauce I will often add different spices just to change it a little, depending on what I have in mind to make with it.

Whole green (poblano) peppers, onions, tomato puree, coriander (fresh & ground) ground dried chilli, turmeric, lemon juice and salt – and the book where I first got the recipe.

Balti Curry Sauce

Makes 5 – 6 heaped tablespoons of sauce.

Balti Curry Sauce


  • 2 medium onion, chopped roughly
  • 2 whole green chillies
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)
  • 2 generous tablespoons tomato puree
  • 3 tablespoon fresh coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground dried chilli
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • a little sunflower oil for frying


  1. Place all the ingredients (minus the oil) in the food mixer and mix until you have an even consistency.
  2. Heat a little oil in a frying pan and fry the mix for about 5 minutes until it has thickened slightly.
  3. Either stir into fried vegetable and use right away or place in jars to use later.

balti veg curry
Fried turnip and green beans in some balti curry sauce.
Balti butternut squash soup
Balti butternut squash soup garnished with a little coconut milk, balti curry sauce and some fresh coriander.